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Teacher's Centre

Immerse yourself in Haida Culture

Totem Pole Pictures, Haida Art, Lifestyle, and More!

The Haida people make their home in the Queen Charlotte Islands off the northern coast of British Columbia, which they call Haida Gwaii, meaning "Islands of the People". Discover the world of the Haida people, including Haida art, their history, and their way of life at the Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC)!

The 'Respect to Bill Reid' Pole - totem pole picture
A totem pole picture from The 'Respect to Bill Reid' Pole virtual exhibition.

Totem Pole Pictures
Forever to be associated with the Haida, totem poles play an important role in Haida art and culture. Read the story about the first totem pole presented in the VMC's Haida Spirits of the Sea exhibit. Then, learn the meaning of their carvings and browse through totem pole pictures including those of The Respect to Bill Reid Pole, in British Columbia.

Haida Art
The beauty of Haida art can be seen in VMC Exhibits and the VMC Image Gallery when browsing totem pole pictures, metal and slate carvings and weavings. Amongst the many examples of artwork which depict the stories behind their creation, be sure to look at the Killer Whale People and the Dogfish Woman.

The VMC presents Our World - Our Way of Life, a virtual exhibit highlighting the different aspects of Haida culture and lifestyle. Explore the way of the Haida people and learn about their traditional games, legends, language and their relationship with the environment.

Haida watercraft

Part of the Virtual Museum of CanadaIn Living Traditions,
your students will learn about the importance of the canoe and kayak in North America. These vessels have a longstanding tradition and were essential for Aboriginal peoples' livelihood, travel and trade.

Wave Eaters - Native Watercraft in Canada
Learn about a variety of traditional Native watercraft, including the West Coast dugout canoes.

We also recommend:

From Indian and Northern Affairs, download the information sheet Stories the Totems Tell: Bringing Aboriginal Poles to Life, which is written for children aged 8-11.

Material covered in the resources can be used in the classroom to enhance students' understanding of the culture and traditions of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada. In particular, the material will assist in achieving these learning outcomes:

  • Understanding that people express their way of life through their particular culture;
  • Demonstrate awareness and appreciation of various Aboriginal cultures in Canada;
  • Demonstrate understanding of contributions of Aboriginal people to Canadian society;
  • Describe traditional technology used by Aboriginal people in Canada;
  • Demonstrate understanding of Aboriginal people's relationship with the land and natural resources;
  • Describe the role of Canada's First Nations peoples in shaping Canadian identity.